By the Numbers: Doug Pederson’s Quick Fixes

Chiefs tight ends coach Tom Melvin and Doug Pederson. (USA Today Sports)

Chiefs tight ends coach Tom Melvin and Doug Pederson. (USA Today Sports)

The Eagles’ offense, for all of its bells and whistles, was an unabashed mess in 2015. The run game fell apart, the passing game was spotty, and the offensive line suffered in a big way.

Hundreds of miles away, Doug Pederson and the Chiefs found a way to string together a monster winning streak with Alex Smith under center and their No. 1 running back sidelined for a good portion of the season.

While dumping an offensive genius in Chip Kelly and picking up a throwback offensive mind in Pederson may mean expecting a more productive unit initially feels a little backward, there might be something to a new perspective and a successful mind trying his hand at the Eagles’ cluttered offense.

Here are three things Pederson can start with.

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Wake-Up Call: Why the Eagles Are Being Aggressive

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

You wonder if Fletcher Cox would have been locked up months ago if not for the short-lived Chip Kelly power grab.

Howie Roseman comes from the Joe Banner school of financial management that teaches to sign your core players early. The logic is sound: the money arrow is always pointing up in the NFL. The more dollars that come in, the higher the cap. As the cap grows, so too does the cost of the individual deals. If you have identified someone that you want to keep around long-term, it’s best to strike as soon as possible while leverage is still on your side and before the price spikes.

Cox became eligible for an extension at the conclusion of the 2014 season. Since then, Ndamukong Suh inked a six-year deal that contains a shade under $60 million in guarantees and averages out to about $19 million per year; Cox has elevated his game while marching a step closer to the end of his deal; and the cap jumped $10 million, with another $10 million bump (if not greater) expected to be announced in March for the ’16 season.

Some league insiders believe Cox will command somewhere around $16-18 million per season now, if not higher. Assuming the 25-year-old was willing to play ball last season, the Eagles lost a significant amount of money by waiting.

That (somewhat extreme) example helps explain why Roseman has been so aggressive to start this offseason. Read more »

Eagles Sign Brent Celek To Three-Year Deal

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The Eagles and veteran tight end Brent Celek have agreed to a three-year deal worth $13 million, including $6 million in guaranteed money. The deal, first reported by ESPN’s Adam Caplan, was confirmed by the Eagles.

This news comes a day after the Eagles announced a five-year deal with Zach Ertz, a deal that is reportedly worth $42.5 million, with $20 million guaranteed.

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Ertz: I Want To Be An Eagle ‘For My Entire Career’

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Zach Ertz didn’t look at a contract extension as something that had to be done this offseason, but when the Eagles approached him after a few days after the season ended about keeping him past next season, he decided to get a deal done.

“Ultimately, this is the best deal at the right time that made sense for me,” he told reporters at the NovaCare Complex Monday afternoon. “I never play the game for money. I pride myself on being the best tight end I can possibly be, and I think this deal signifies that. I’m really happy with the deal.

“My agent did an unbelievable job, but at the same time, I want to be in Philadelphia and whatever price that took, that’s what I wanted to do. And I want to be here for a long time. I want to be here for my entire career.” Read more »

Eagles Sign Zach Ertz To Five-Year Extension

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

The Eagles signed Zach Ertz to a five-year contract extension, locking him up through 2021, the team announced Monday morning. Ertz’s extension is reportedly worth $42.5 million, with $20 million guaranteed, making him the NFL’s fourth-highest paid tight end.

Ertz became the first Eagles tight end this season to have back-to-back 100-yard games since Brent Celek did so in 2009. His career-high 152 receiving yards in the season finale against the Giants was the fourth-highest total ever by an Eagles tight end, and the most since Celek’s 157 yards in a game in 2012.

Ertz accumulated 30 receptions in the last three games, setting a team record for the most catches over a three-games span. He also racked up 450 yards over the final four games, joining Jimmy Graham as the only NFL tight ends with at least 450 yards over a four-game span since 2013. With 853 yards on the season, Ertz finished with the seventh-highest single-season yardage total ever by an Eagles tight end, while his 75 receptions rank third.

Ertz posted the following message on his website: Read more »

Eagles Roster Analysis: Offense

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray. (Jeff Fusco)

With Sunday’s game against the Giants meaningless in terms of the 2015 NFL season, we figured it was time to turn our attention to the Eagles’ roster heading into the new year and the offseason, as the team begins looking for its next head coach.

A team’s stable of talent plays quite the role when people like Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman are trying to sell their franchise to prospective head coaches. Let’s talk about how the roster looks on the offensive side of the ball.

(All contract information is via Spotrac, including the 2016 dead cap numbers.) Read more »

Zach Ertz: ‘I Don’t Need A Best Friend As A Coach’

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

Zach Ertz. (Jeff Fusco)

After several players voiced their criticisms of Chip Kelly yesterday, it became clear today that not everyone in the locker room feels the same way. Malcolm Jenkins responded to some of Lane Johnson’s comments, and Zach Ertz appeared to defend his former head coach when asked about whether Kelly was approachable.

“I’ve been around unapproachable coaches before. I don’t need a best friend as a coach,” Ertz said. “I need someone that’s going to push me to be the best I can be, and that’s all I can ask for.”

When speaking to the media yesterday about firing Kelly, Jeffrey Lurie said he would consult players about what they want in their next head coach. Ertz expressed a sentiment similar to his response about Kelly. Read more »

Sam Bradford: ‘This Is Where I Want To Be’

Jordan Matthews and Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)

Jordan Matthews and Sam Bradford. (Jeff Fusco)

The Eagles season hasn’t gone how Sam Bradford envisioned when he joined the team in the offseason, but the quarterback said he still wants to re-sign and be back next year.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here. I’ve enjoyed being in Philadelphia,” Bradford said after the Eagles’ 38-24 loss against Washington. “I think throughout my career, I’ve learned that learning new offenses every year, it’s just hard to continue to improve. You are always learning. You are learning new verbiage, learning new plays, learning new systems. And I would really like to stay in the same one and have the opportunity to play a second year.”

Bradford has completed 63.7 percent of his passes this season for 3,025 yards, 16 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He’s averaging 6.9 yards per throw and has a passer rating of 83.8.

Against Washington, Bradford set a career high with 380 passing yards and 37 completions. His completion total also tied an Eagles record, set by Mark Sanchez last season at Washington. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: ‘Playoffs Start Now’

Jordan Matthews. (Jeff Fusco)

Jordan Matthews. (Jeff Fusco)

Depending on who you talked to in the Eagles’ locker room yesterday after their loss to the Cardinals, you felt different a emotion radiating from the team.

Jordan Matthews explained how the Eagles beat themselves, while Malcolm Jenkins candidly rejected that premise. Zach Ertz discussed looking ahead, while Connor Barwin compared the Cardinals to other teams the Eagles have played (he said Arizona is better than Carolina or New England).

But most of the players repeated some variation of what Lane Johnson called “a do-or-die situation.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Closer Look At the Ertz Play

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

It was the longest play of Zach Ertz‘s young career and in his mind, the biggest.

The game was knotted at 20-20 with five minutes remaining, and the Eagles were facing a 3rd-and-3 from their own 41 when Ertz pulled off the big catch-and-run down the left sideline that set up the eventual game-deciding Caleb Sturgis field goal. Read more »

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